Many people equate asbestos with heavy industry or construction materials. In truth, the mineral was used copiously several decades ago in numerous consumer products that might still be in use today.
This time of year, many American households busy themselves with decorating for the holidays. Unfortunately, many Christmas decorations either contained asbestos during their production or were exposed to asbestos fibers while in storage.
- Attic storage: Zonolite is a type of loose-fill insulation found in millions of American homes – generally in colder climates such as the Midwest or Northeast states. While this type of insulation is no longer manufactured, when it was, it was extremely popular. Unfortunately, Zonolite is made out of vermiculite and likely contaminated by asbestos by virtue of where the vermiculite was mined. As the insulation deteriorates with age, the asbestos fibers can begin to coat items being stored in attics in homes throughout the United States. Many people, unfortunately, use attic storage space to hide away old clothes or seasonal decorations – only to be disturbed during the holidays every year.
- Vintage decorations: Before the second world war, asbestos was commonly used as fake snow in everything from movie sets to Christmas ornaments. Even though the deadly material is no longer used in this fashion, some vintage decorations are considered family heirlooms – passed down from generation to generation. A decorative wreath, for example, might have originally belonged to your great-grandmother. The fake snow that adorns this item could be a direct link to mesothelioma.
It is crucial that you understand the dangers you face from seemingly innocuous sources. Many homes built prior to 1980 contain asbestos fibers in their insulation, tilework and roofing materials. Additionally, many objects seen as heirlooms could ultimately be hazardous. Antique coffee pots, popcorn makers and the aforementioned ornaments could be the cause of your loved one suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma and other devastating lung diseases.